After the WWE Cruiserweight Classic reignited the fire of a once great division, it became the exclusive property of Raw where its light started to dim due to short matches supported by ham-fisted narratives. Then, the newest WWE Network show, 205 Live, served as a staunch reminder that Cruiserweight wrestling is a compelling series to engage in.
The division’s signature purple aesthetic was on display as the show opened with each member of the roster being introduced, which is akin to the ceremonial parade of fighters that kicked off events for the defunct MMA organization PRIDE FC.
Fans got their first taste of what many believe is the dream commentary duo of Corey Graves and Mauro Ranallo. Austin Aries, from NXT, was the third man in the booth and staked his claim to the title while insulting wrestlers as he went.
Aries’ satirical approval of Gallaher’s “hot air balloon tights” and his offhand claim of how The Bollywood Boyz slept in twin bunk beds until they were 22 years old was funny and balanced out the overall commentary, which was refreshingly free of the usual overload of WWE buzz words.
The Bollywood Boyz defeated Drew Gulak and Tony Nese in the opening contest. While the intent here was to serve as a vehicle to highlight the dancing brothers, a singles match with high-flying and innovative moves would have made a more pronounced statement.
Plus, Nese and Gulak’s train wreck of a stumbling post-match promo was devoid of anything resembling conviction, claiming that the mat was lumpy and the ring ropes were greasy.
Tom Phillips interviewed champion Brian Kendrick about his title defense against Rich Swan. Phillips mentioned how TJ Perkins is owed a rematch and awkwardly brought him in as if he was coming out to take part in a game show.
Perkins is just not a good promo guy and somehow looks like a jerk in his 8-bit retro shades. Perkins reluctantly gave his support to Kendrick citing that a loss would take him out of the title picture.
Jack Gallaher gave Ariya Daivari a good old thrashing while the highlight was seeing Gallaher use his precision grappling to tie up Daivari in a knot. Gallaher was a true English gentleman and backed off, allowing Daivari to untie himself. Of course, he couldn’t, and just squirmed in the middle of the ring until Gallagher put him away.
It took a while, but the live audience eventually got into the main event, which helped it come off as a must-see affair. Rich Swan and Brain Kendrick produced a great match that exemplified what many feel the division represents. Outstanding action highlighted this back and forth affair that was propped up by a real story of loss that made people care about the Swann’s title win
Despite some hits and misses, 205 Live’s uninterrupted hour is exactly the kind of platform needed to flourish in the current WWE setting. Everything was given the proper time to breathe. Sports Entertainment, with an extra helping of sports, will only be able to wave its flag so high…even on the company’s flagship show.